There is a lot of conversation and debate about college students who have an enormous amount of debt when they are finished with school. 

A lot of those conversations are centered on the rising costs of a two- or four-year college education and the higher interest rates being charged on the future leaders of our country. These are legitimate concerns that need to be resolved. But I would suggest there is a larger problem with student debt, and it comes with a viable solution. 

In a recent research study by Deloitte’s Center for the Edge, they determined that only 12.7 percent of the workforce is passionate about their work. Think about that for a minute. If more than 87 percent of the workforce is not passionate about what they do for a living, you could infer that most students are entering the workforce lacking passion about their career choice as well. In simple terms, students are taking on debt without a career plan they are passionate about. 

The solution and process to develop a passionate career plan has four simple steps.  The first step is to take a behavioral science assessment to understand your natural behavioral style. The next step is to define the top three passions in your life. The third step is to define career options that wrap your natural behavioral style around a passion in your life. The final step is to choose one of the career options that provide you the greatest opportunity for success. 

This process can be completed at any age, but the best case scenario is early in high school. While high school students learn other important sciences like biology and chemistry, very few students understand behavioral science or their natural behavioral style, which is developed by the time you are 7 years old.

SM Advisors/Stop The Vanilla has partnered with the Howard-Suamico School District to change this through the Academic and Career Planning Initiative. The pilot program provides a behavioral style assessment and career counseling to juniors and seniors in high school to help them wrap their natural style around a passion in their life. It allows students to talk about who they are, and what they like to do. You can see the passion and enthusiasm pick up in every student in the class as they start getting clarity on their future. Several students came up to me after our class to talk about their specific careers like a pediatric nurse or a teacher.

It helps students set a course for their lives before they even set foot in a college or technical school. Prior to high school graduation every single student should have a career plan that wraps their natural style around a passion in their life. When you are passionate about what you do and you deliver it naturally, you excel at it and get rewarded for it. 

We are planning to…